Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Artist of the Week: Tam Van Tran


b. 1966 Kontom, Vietnam
Lives and works in Los Angeles

Education: Graduated from the UCLA Film and Television Program, and holds a BFA in painting from the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.

“Tam Van Tran’s unusual materials and working methods result in works of exceptional beauty. He comments simultaneously on the natural world, the industrial world, and even science fiction,”
--JoAnne Northrup, chief curator, San Jose Museum of Art.

“Beetle Manifesto” Series
Van Tram uses natural materials like spirulina and chloroform mixed with acrylic, paints on canvas and paper, and then shreds his painting into strips. He then uses ordinary office staples to reassemble the work into a three-dimensional wall piece

More mixed mixed media works of acrylic, staples, color pencil on canvas, and paper (also notice the 3-hole (or single hole) punched elements...)

Elements build density in areas, also continue to contain "profiles," in other words, create dimension. Notice how the elements begin to break the boundaries of the rectangular/boxed canvas. Below you'll see how it doesn't just break the 2-dimensional edges, but it continues and breaks the boundary between 2-dimensions and 3-dimensions. The painting becomes a sculpture.

Tam Van Tram has received the Joan Mitchell Foundation award, a Pollack Krassner Fellowship, among other honors. Numerous galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have presented solo exhibitions of Tran’s work. In addition to the Whitney Biennial in 2004, such museums as the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, UCLA’s Hammer Museum, and the Asian American Art Center, New York, have exhibited his work.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Art Star: Erté

b. November 23, 1892, St. Petersburg, Russia
d. April 21 1990, Paris, France

Erté was born Romain de Tirtoff in St. Petersburg Russia in 1892. The only son of an admiral in the Imperial Fleet, he was raised amidst Russia's social elite. As a young boy, he was fascinated by the Persian miniatures he found in his father's library. These exotic, brightly patterned designs continued to be important to him and influenced the development of his style.

Persian Miniature Paintings:

He moved to Paris at the age of eighteen and took the name Erté, from the French pronunciation of his initials, R and T. In 1915 he began his long relationship with Harper's Bazaar, during which time he created over 240 covers for the magazine. 

Harper's Bazaar Magazine Covers:

To see more Harper's Bazaar covers by Erté, click here

His fashion designs also appeared in many other publications, making him one of the most widely recognized artists of the 1920s. 

He also designed costumes and sets for the theater. In 1976 the French government awarded Erté the title of Officer of Arts and Letters, and in 1982 the Medaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris was bestowed upon him.


“The Arctic Sea”, 1925

Wedding costume for Aladin , 1929

Costume for the wife of a Russian boyar; The Woman and the Devil at the Théâtre Apollo, 1921

Costume for Pelléas et Mélisande, 1927 

Set Designs:

Design for Stage Set, City Skyline Seen Beyond Terrace, for Manhattan Mary, 1927

To see more theater set designs, click here

Erté and the Ziegfeld Follies

The Ziegfeld Follies were famous for many beautiful chorus girls commonly known as Ziegfeld girls.  

Florenz Ziegfeld's theatrical spectaculars known as the Ziegfeld Follies, were based on the Folies Bergère of Paris.... Erte costumes and sets were featured in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923.

 Erté's theatrical innovations were countless, including "living curtains" (showgirls with plumes and pearls, festooned by embroidered trains. The Ziegfeld girls paraded up and down flights of stairs semi-nude, as anything from birds to battleships.

 These beauties, of similar size, decked out in Erté designs, gained many young male admirers and they became objects of popular adoration.

Prints and More Work (costumes, sets, apparel, etc.)

The alphabet and numeral suite:

For the complete alphabet and numeral suite, click here

Work from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

To see images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, click here

Erté continued working throughout his life, designing revues, ballets, and operas. He had a major rejuvenation and much lauded interest in his career during the 1960s with the Art Deco revival. He branched out into the realm of limited edition prints, bronzes, and wearable art.

Erté's work has exhibited in prominent museums around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum in California, The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and more. Erté is credited as being the originator of the Art Deco Movement and is the style for which he is identified.

To see more of Erte's work, click here